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Hi everyone, I’ve got a personal dilema to solve this evening! We’ve just been invited to a formal black tie do in a fortnight. I have a perfectly decent black satin ball dress which is a (roomy) size 12 (UK). Alas I am now a size 16 (UK) but thankfully I have a narrow waist. The dress is strapless so all I need to do is insert a triangle in the back, with a hidden zip in the centre and it’ll fit perfectly. I was wondering about how to make it look like its meant to be there? There was a trend on wedding dresses to have sashes / borders of colour at one point. Also, what about tails? Im up for any suggestions!! The dress is black satin so I think I’d better go for a contrast (finding a black to match I guess would be impossible) so I was wondering about a cream? In a band around the top and down the back? Then all I need is a ‘me’ to pin it for me!!!!


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  • Patti_12-28-2011_large

    Jan 29, 2012, 02.25 AMby patti-r

    IMHO I would rather make another dress than to unpick a dress, also cream or off white although I love the color sometimes will not look great on black if not done well, if you intend to do this maybe a black matte crepe since the dress is satin.. Kate or others may have suggestions on the insertion piece.

    Regarding tails you do mean for your husband? Unless stated on invitation no tails needed.

    I have attended numerous Formal Events over the years.

    Check this for tips: http://www.fabsugar.com/What-Wear-Black-Tie-Event-Weddings-Galas-More-15848938

    Rules may differ in UK

    1 Reply
    • Blackberry_012_large

      Jan 29, 2012, 09.27 AMby AC1972

      Hi Patti-r and thank you for your reply. When I mentioned ‘tails’ I meant adding something to the back of the dress as a decoration in the same colour as the band around the top and down the back, to kind of blend them together, almost like a sari scarf? Yes, we’ve been to many formal do’s too, my husband has a Tux but he’s alright as he hasn’t ‘outgrown’ his outfit!! Thank you so much for your time and I will certainly investigate the black matt crepe, but the extrovert in me fancies colours!! Happy Sunday!!

  • Blackberry_012_large

    Jan 29, 2012, 09.58 AMby AC1972

    Hello again! I have found this site


    and it is very very helpful about making a lace up back to a dress. I think this is what Im going to do with the evening dress. All I’ve got to do is source the lace and ‘hooks’ now ….. I’m not making my own!!

    Do you think I could get away with ribbon for the lacing?

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jan 29, 2012, 05.38 PMby katexxxxxx

    Remember that this way of making a dress lace up the back is for one that fits like that, not to give you more room in one that doesn’t. You need to balance the dress, or it will just look like you have cobbled together a fix for something that is too small.

    Put the gown on and really look at where you need to add the extra fabric. If you NEED it in the front, you’ll have to ADD it in the front. This might mean cutting a new front and side front panel for the gown bodice, especially if you need the extra fabric at the front bust line, added to the princess seams… I would suggest a proper assessment, riupping out the side and front seams and then trying the dress on and pinning the bodice pieces in place. Keep the side seams and the center back closure virtical, and add the extra fabric where you need it.

    You could try adding this is wedges to each seam and disguising the new fabric with a lace overlay or with beading.

    However, I think this is probably more work than the dress is worth at this point, and you are probably better taking the bodice off and discarding it, and making a whole new bodice. You could easily disguise and difference in fabric by making it a contrast texture ( brocade, lace, embroidered, whatever) or colour.

    1 Reply
    • Blackberry_012_large

      Jan 31, 2012, 08.39 PMby AC1972

      Hi Kate, thank you so much for your reply, fab advice as ever! The extra fabric is needed around the back where the hidden zip is … I’ve obviously put weight on on my back grrrrrrrr! As the dress is only fitted to the waist and then flares out I kind of think I will get away with an insert.

      I will get my husband to pin the dress to some scrap fabric when Im in it so I can have a proper look, its v difficult when its round the back … probably why i’ve not ‘seen’ my weight gain!

      Thank you Kate, your advice is great!!

  • 20596winter_20fairy_large

    Jan 29, 2012, 05.48 PMby sewingfan1

    Ribbon should work, I’ve seen laced up versions with organza ribbon too which looks pretty. Re panelling, I guess it may be difficult to take it apart and add a panel and make it look professional (unless you’re confident in your skills of course) but it could work well if you know what you’re doing.

    If you’re putting a “v” only in the back, are you sure it won’t put the front out of shape though? It may not hang right afterwards?

    Must admit I like contrasting colours or complimentary ones if a dress does have a panel in it, but maybe I’d be wanting to add other bits to tie it together if I was putting a ‘v’ in the back, (eg a bit of the same fabric on the edge of the sleeves or an underskirt from the same fabric that was a bit longer than the hem of the dress) but then it would be making a LOT of extra work. :-)

    It is a good look too, as Patti says, if you contrast the finish of a fabric, rather than the colour, like this dress http://www.yournextdress.com/leighton-meester-va-va-voom-in-a-versus-velvet-dress/ which I think is gorgeous! Or how about this for a stunner with a ‘v’ in the front (although i know it’s not a panel, just added embelishments but i couldn’t resist posting it as it’s so stunning http://www.poshgirlvintage.com/1950s-blue-velvet-beaded-dress-p-217.html

  • Blackberry_012_large

    Jan 29, 2012, 06.28 PMby AC1972

    Oh my Sewingfan, those dresses are BEU T I FUL! Im going to trial my V and see what it looks like! I’ll keep you posted!

  • Blackberry_012_large

    Jan 29, 2012, 08.22 PMby AC1972

    i’ve found this site too for ideas about sashes on the back of dresses, these are wedding dresses but its the same shape as my ball dress, only black!http://www.preownedweddingdresses.com/dresses/25857/David-s-Bridal-T9293-Size-6.html

  • 20596winter_20fairy_large

    Jan 30, 2012, 09.22 AMby sewingfan1

    ooh, the sash idea is really beautiful. Did you see Kate’s post above, (I think she was typing it at the same time as me the other day :-) ) She’s put good advice there.

  • Missing

    Feb 1, 2012, 10.27 AMby rosarini

    What about adding a v both front & back with maybe a series of tucks or braids then where it’s joined in the v put fine bias so it looks like the design

  • Blackberry_012_large

    Feb 10, 2012, 11.44 PMby AC1972

    Hi everyone, i’m hoping to finally get my dress done this weekend … i’ve found a site with some interesting insert articles and pictures!!! hope it helps someone else http://www.itsmysite.com/cgi-bin/itsmy/go.exe?page=5&domain=1&webdir=joannely

  • Blackberry_012_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 04.35 PMby AC1972

    Im about to make the loops to put in the back of my dress and I found this site for making spaghetti straps … I’ve found the advice SO simple and effective here you go:


    1 Reply
    • 20596winter_20fairy_large

      Feb 11, 2012, 06.30 PMby sewingfan1

      Oh wow! Soooo hope that this works as I’m just the same as the blogger, had given up on them and would find any other solution rather than have to make them myself. Even my stupid spaghetti strap turner thing was a nightmare to use and I’d end up making the straps wider than I wanted or scrap them all together! Thanks for posting it.

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